Saying ‘no’ might seem like the easiest thing in the world. But, in reality, it’s not just a word that comes out of your mouth, it’s a representation of ourselves and, for many of us, saying ‘no’ is simply impossible.
I am one of those people.
I don’t like to let people down, I don’t like to say, ‘I can’t achieve that’.
But the reality is that by not saying no we are putting ourselves into a position of being completely overwhelmed and, as such, it impacts the work that we do undertake.
According to Psychology Today, the ‘power of no … is an instrument of integrity and a shield against exploitation’.
It’s hard to hear, it’s even harder to say, but in doing so, we are allowed to acknowledge our boundaries, recognise where we draw the line in the sand and take back a little control over who we are and what we do.
Every decision we make contributes to building our personal brand.
There is, of course, power behind saying yes as well, characterised by risk-taking, courage, stepping up and helping out. But this power is a force for good only when it is wielded within a forum of manageable reality i.e. you realistically have time, presence of mind and capability to do what you said yes to.
Saying yes is often celebrated, whereas saying no rarely is.
However, in at least in a business sense, saying no can create a need for your time which ups its value. Saying no to clients, perhaps, is the hardest thing of all (because it’s also saying no to income); it is considered ‘negative’, ‘unhelpful’ and the tool to dissatisfaction – all things we try to avoid when engaging with clients.
However, in doing so, in business, we are demonstrating the need for our time and, instead of accepting too much work and piling on the pressure and stress to finalise it all within a finite time, we are acknowledging the demand for our expertise.
You will probably lose a few clients (especially those who need the work done ‘yesterday’), but in the long run, you will be healthier, happier and working within your means in terms of work/life and sleep balances.
Most of us avoid conflict like the plague. It makes our tummies clench, we feel somewhat sick and suddenly it sounds like our hearts are beating outside of our chests.
It is natural to try to avoid conflict and in doing so, try to avoid saying no wherever possible.
However, sometimes, saying yes is just putting off an inevitable ‘no’ that will be made a significantly more negative experience due to the earlier promise of a ‘yes’.
The first thing to realise is that saying no doesn’t mean that you are a bad person. It doesn’t mean you are self-serving, unmindful of the needs of others or unkind. Recognising that your needs are important too is a crucial step in the process.
Finally, you need to weigh up whether saying yes will be worth it – do you really want to do what you’ve been asked to do?
Will it bring you a result that you really want?
What impact will saying yes have (and, on the other side of this coin, what impact will saying no have) and is this what you want?
Ultimately, only you can decide if you are able to take on board what someone else has asked you to do.
If you are going to say no, be direct, don’t lie and practice it.
I think I need to reread this article myself.